National Archives and Records Administration - ARC Identifier 1151850 / Local Identifier 255-HQ-9 - Astronauts: United States Project Mercury, ca. 1960 - National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (10/01/1958 - ). This film documents the selection of the original seven astronauts for Project Mercury: Lieutenant Malcolm S. (Scott) Carpenter, Captain Leroy G. (Gordon) Cooper, Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn, Captain Virgil I. (Gus) Grissom, Lieutenant Commander Walter M. Schirra, Lieutenant Commander Alan Shepard, and Captain Donald K. (Deke) Slayton. The footage shows the selection criteria and process, the astronauts in training, and the beginnings of our knowledge of manned space flight. -
January 5, 2012 Subject:
A gem, great music, style, footage; poor transfer
This 1960 film is packed with great color footage of the original seven astronauts and their vehicles. These people were my childhood heroes. They all look so young now!
One of the film's best features is the music, composed by Don Swartz, played by the Air Force Symphony Orchestra. The title theme is a sweeping melody, expertly orchestrated, that captures the confidence/anxiety of 1960 perfectly. I think symphony orchestras around the country should consider this for their patriotic pops concerts. Unfortunately, in this copy, 'wow' presumably from variations in film speed during the transfer is a real obstacle to listening.
Elsewhere on Internet Archive there's another version of this film with an introduction, added much later, by NASA Lewis Research Center. Perhaps in order to keep the total length under 29 minutes, the Lewis version sadly cuts the main title sequence, depriving us of the one clean presentation of the main musical theme. I prefer this version.